First look: Rose Street Cafe at St. Paul's Schmidt Brewery complex

Rose Street Café's French toast

Rose Street Café's French toast Stacy Brooks

St. Paul’s former Schmidt Brewery complex is having a moment. Last year, the much-anticipated Keg and Case Market was launched and garnered national acclaim. This week, another dining option was added to the mix, as Rose Street Patisserie opened their newest location in a former office above the brewery’s Rathskeller, about a half-block from their existing confectionery-centric stand inside Keg and Case. The Rose Street Cafe has limited hours now through Sunday, July 21, with a full opening scheduled for Tuesday, July 23.

In addition to shelves of bread and a pastry case filled with glistening cakes, there’s an inviting seating area, patio, and bread-centric cafe menu of breakfast and lunch items. “At the preview, people from the neighborhood thanked us for having breakfast,” says CEO Elizabeth Rose, noting that the area lacks early-morning dining options. 

Avocado toast: not just for millennials anymore

Avocado toast: not just for millennials anymore Stacy Brooks

Unlike Rose Street’s other locations, the new cafe has a full kitchen, which means you can order your avocado toast with a poached egg. While most versions of millennials’ breakfast of choice focus on the green stuff, this one is more about the bread; a thick slice of multigrain has just as much flavor and texture as the avocado and seasonal vegetables piled on top.

We also tried the French toast, made with a towering square of laminated brioche that’s equivalent to at least three standard slices of bread. The buttery richness is balanced by a heaping garnish of fresh fruit, plus local accompaniments like an employee’s own maple syrup and a seasonal housemade jam.

Our crumb-covered notes report that the egg and cheese croissant features “really amazing breakfast sausage!”—like many of the meats on the menu, it’s sourced from K’nack at the adjacent Keg and Case Market. Gruyere cheese and a hint of bechamel make this the sort of breakfast sandwich you want to linger over, in true French fashion. 

Other breakfast choices include quiche, egg in a hole, and an omelette du jour. The lunch menu is all about sandwiches. We started with the ham and Gruyere baguette. It’s a French bakery standby for a reason, built on bread we would happily inhale by the loaf and stuffed with thinly sliced ham and a snappy whole-grain mustard. 

The Royale Baguette may not be tidy, but that's kind of the point

The Royale Baguette may not be tidy, but that's kind of the point Stacy Brooks

We also tried the Royale Baguette, which owner John Kraus says is his “favorite sandwich of all time.” It’s inspired by the Italian-American cuisine of his youth and loaded with Italian sausage, capicola, melted provolone, and lettuce. Good luck trying to eat it neatly—but that’s kind of the point. This is a sandwich for hefty appetites, the alter ego of those delicate sweets behind glass.

Other sandwiches include an egg salad croissant, BLT baguette, and grilled cheese on miche (a hearty rustic bread). “Our bread is a great vehicle,” says Rose. “We’re able to highlight that—that it’s made down the hall.”

That’s the other thing that makes this Rose Street location unique: It’s under the same roof as the mini chain’s production bakery, and you can see the pastries in progress through a wall of windows. A giant mixer churning away, trays and trays of almond croissants, bakers deftly fitting dough into pans… if you’re a carb lover, it’s like getting a peek behind the scenes at Santa’s workshop.

Kraus notes that having a centralized production bakery makes for a more relaxing environment in the bakery and cafe kitchens, since it frees up space and centralizes the baking crew. Kraus and Rose also plan to utilize the facility to develop an apprenticeship program, so aspiring bakers can get a taste of the profession without the commitment and expense of culinary school. They indicated that classes for the general public are on the horizon, likely focusing on seasonal baked goods.

Sign us up. 

In the meantime, we’ll have another helping of that French toast, please. 


Rose Street Café

882 W. Seventh St., St. Paul